The government is preparing the spirits for a hardening in the face of the rebound of the epidemic

The First Council of Ministers of the Castex government, at the Elysee Palace on July 7, 2020. – HAMILTON-POOL / SIPA

Faced with the rebound of the coronavirus epidemic, the government is preparing people’s minds for a hardening of health constraints in several territories, as is already the case in Lille, Marseille and Bordeaux.

Thursday, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, must hold a press point at 5 p.m., which will once again become weekly, to defend and detail the policy to fight against the coronavirus epidemic. He will make “a clear educational presentation of the strategy” of the government “to live with the virus”, explained the spokesman of the government Gabriel Attal at the end of a Council of Ministers again dominated by the management of the pandemic .

The French must “hang on” before “better days”

“All transparency” will be given “on the figures” of contamination, “department by department”, assured Emmanuel Macron, who again warned that the virus would continue to rage “for months” in France. “It is running faster and faster in certain departments, which leads the government to tighten the rules a bit”, he added, encouraging the French to “hang on” before “better days”, after having assisted, masked, at the 17th stage of the Tour de France, in Méribel (Savoie).

Among the metropolises where constraints could be announced is Lyon, the Rhône department with an incidence rate of 168 cases per 100,000, the second most important in the metropolis after Bouches-du-Rhône. In Toulouse, the first city to impose the wearing of a mask, the mayor LR Jean-Luc Moudenc considers ineluctable a strengthening of health measures. “We see the indices deteriorate, so we cannot stand idly by, we have a duty to go further, we are working on it. We must decide on the extension (of wearing a mask) and additional measures, ”he said Wednesday at a press conference.

“Antigenic” tests to speed up case detection

Overall, France is seeing an increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations. Nearly 8,000 new cases were recorded on Monday. And over the last seven days, 2,713 patients have been hospitalized and 479 admitted to intensive care. The government must respond not only to this rebound but also to overcome the growing mistrust of the population. Nearly one in two French people find that the executive does not “take enough precautions” and 62% do not “trust” it to fight the epidemic, 6 points more than at the end of August, reveals an Elabe poll for BFMTV. Among the points criticized is the Stopcovid application which, admitted Gabriel Attal, has “not found its audience”, with less than 3 million downloads.

The priority to tests for those who have the application, mentioned in the press, is “not on the agenda”, he also added. To speed up the detection of cases, the government has just authorized rapid “antigenic” tests. The return to school and university remains at high risk. 81 schools and a little over 2,100 classes have been closed since the beginning of September. But this only represents “0.13%” of some “60,000 schools in the country,” said Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer, who notes about “1,200 new cases of students compared to the previous week “.

Restrictive measures already in place in some departments

In application of the new “territorialized” strategy, any new anti-Covid measure will be announced on site by the prefect, after consultation with local elected officials, in order to avoid accusations of vertical decisions taken from Paris. The state will keep its exceptional powers to restrict gatherings and travel, the Council of Ministers having adopted a bill on Wednesday which extends these authorizations by six months, until April 2021.

“Given the health situation, it is necessary to anticipate and give us all the tools to continue fighting the epidemic,” explained Gabriel Attal. It is this device that made it possible to announce on Monday more restrictive measures in the Bouches-du-Rhône, the North and the Gironde, which relate to the prohibition of dance evenings in bars or student parties, of the suspension school trips or limiting gatherings in parks and beaches.

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